Job 33:33
If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.
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33:29-33 Elihu shows that God's great and gracious design toward the children of men, is, to save them from being for ever miserable, and to bring them to be for ever happy. By whatever means we are kept back from the we shall bless the Lord for them at least, and should bless him for them though they be painful and distressing. Those that perish for ever are without excuse, for they would not be healed.If not, hearken unto me ... - If nothing has been said from which you dissent, then listen to me, and I will explain further the perplexing subject which has excited so much discussion. These remarks of Elihu imply great confidence in the truth of what he had to say, but they are not arrogant and disrespectful. He treats Job with the utmost deference; is willing to hear all that could be said in opposition to his own views, and is desirous of not wounding his feelings or doing injustice to his cause. It may be supposed that he paused here, to give Job an opportunity to reply, but as he made no remarks, he resumed his discourse in the following chapter. The views which he had expressed were evidently new to Job, and were entirely at variance with those of his three friends, and they appear to have been received by all with profound and respectful silence. 32. justify—to do thee justice; and, if I can, consistently with it, to declare thee innocent. At Job 33:33 Elihu pauses for a reply; then proceeds in Job 34:1. i.e. What thy wisdom and duty is in thy circumstances.

If not, hearken to me,.... If he had no objection to make, nor answer to return, then he desires he would attend and listen to what he had further to lay before him:

hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom. For though Job was a wise and good man, he might become wiser and more knowing; and indeed when instruction is given to a wise man, he will be yet wiser, Proverbs 9:9; and this may be received sometimes from persons inferior in age and abilities. Elihu proposed to teach him, as he did, natural, moral, and evangelical wisdom, especially the wisdom of God in his providential dealings with men, and what is man's highest wisdom under them; which is to be reconciled unto them, and patiently to submit, and to fear the Lord, and be careful not to offend him, which to do is wisdom and understanding.

If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.
Verse 33. - If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom. Elihu is certainly quite sufficiently impressed with the sense of his intellectual capacity. Job's silence may have been meant as a sort of tacit rebuke to him. Considering his youth (Job 32:6), there is something of arrogance in the whole tone of his address, and especially in his notion that he could "teach Job wisdom." It is significant that neither now, when expressly invited to reply, nor at any subsequent point of the discourse, nor even at its close, does Job condescend to make any answer at all to Elihu's speech.

Job 33:3329 Behold, God doeth all

Twice, thrice with man,

30 To bring back his soul from the pit,

That it may become light in the light of life.

31 Listen, O Job, hearken to me;

Be silent and let me speak on.

32 Yet if thou hast words, answer me;

Speak, for I desire thy justification.

33 If not, hearken thou to me;

Be silent and I will teach thee wisdom.

After having described two prominent modes of divine interposition for the moral restoration and welfare of man, he adds, Job 33:29, that God undertakes (observe the want of parallelism in the distich, Job 33:29) everything with a man twice or thrice (asyndeton, as e.g., Isaiah 17:6, in the sense of bis terve) in order to bring back his soul from the pit (שׁחת, here for the fifth time in this speech, without being anywhere interchanged with שׁאול or another synonym, which is remarkable), that it, having hitherto been encompassed by the darkness of death, may be, or become, light (לאור, inf. Niph., syncopated from להאור, Ew. 244, b) in the light of life (as it were bask in the new and restored light of life) - it does not always happen, for these are experiences of no ordinary kind, which interrupt the daily course of life; and it is not even repeated again and again constantly, for if it is without effect the first time, it is repeated a second or third time, but it has an end if the man trifles constantly with the disciplinary work of grace which designs his good. Finally, Elihu calls upon Job quietly to ponder this, that he may proceed; nevertheless, if he has words, i.e., if he thinks he is able to advance any appropriate objections, he is continually to answer him (השׁיב with acc. of the person, as Job 33:5), for he (Elihu) would willingly justify him, i.e., he would gladly be in the position to be able to acknowledge Job to be right, and to have the accusation dispensed with. Hirz. and others render falsely: I wish thy justification, i.e., thou shouldst justify thyself; in this case נפשׁך ought to be supplied, which is unnecessary: חפץ, without a change of subject, has the inf. constr. here without ל, as it has the inf. absol. in Job 13:3, and צדּק signifies to vindicate (as Job 32:2), or acknowledge to be in the right (as the Piel of צדק, Job 33:12), both of which are blended here. The lxx, which translates θέλω γὰρ δικαιωθῆναί σε, has probably read צדקך (Psalm 35:27). If it is not so (אם־אין as Genesis 30:1), viz., that he does not intend to defend himself with reference to his expostulation with God on account of the affliction decreed for him, he shall on his part (אתּה) listen, shall be silent and be further taught wisdom.

Quasi hac ratione Heliu sanctum Iob convicerit! exclaims Beda, after a complete exposition of this speech. He regards Elihu as the type of the false wisdom of the heathen, which fails to recognise and persecutes the servant of God: Sunt alii extra ecclesiam, qui Christo ejusque ecclesiae similiter adversantur, quorum imaginem praetulit Balaam ille ariolus, qui et Elieu sicut patrum traditio habet (Balaam and Elihu, one person - a worthless conceit repeated in the Talmud and Midrash), qui contra ipsum sanctum Iob multa improbe et injuriose locutus est, in tantum ut etiam displiceret in una ejus et indisciplinata loquacitas.

(Note: Bedae Opp. ed. Basil. iii. col. 602f. 786. The commentary also bears the false name of Jerome Hieronymus, and as a writing attributed to him is contained in tom. v. Opp. ed. Vallarsi.)

Gregory the Great, in his Moralia, expresses himself no less unfavourably at the conclusion of this speech:


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